Review: 'The Yorkshire Exorcist'

By Steve Higgins
October 28, 2023 1:00 AM ‐ ParanormalTelevision
Ian Lawman, The Yorkshire Exorcist
Photo: © Discovery+
'The Yorkshire Exorcist' lands on the Really channel and Discovery+ this Halloween. The hour-long special stars Ian Lawman, a Scunthorpe-born psychic medium and ordained exorcist.

Ian, is no stranger to the supernatural spotlight, known for his appearances on the paranormal reality show 'Help! My House Is Haunted'. But now, Ian is going it alone, a challenge that might be daunting to some, but Ian says he considers exorcism a solo pursuit, emphasising that performing an exorcism requires total focus and no interference.

In the show we learn that Ian, who claims to have been hearing voices from an early age, was ordained by the Church of England in 2014 and serves as part of their Deliverance Ministry. Ian says that his work involves casting demonic entities out of homes and people.

There's a lot of ghost hunting shows on television and 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' doesn't revolutionise the genre, but it certainly offers a fresh angle and is a very welcome hour-long show to get stuck into over Halloween. The programme could be described as an extension of 'Help! My House Is Haunted,' particularly given that Jayne Harris, Ian's co-star on 'Help!', also makes an appearance. It's as if the other host, Barri Ghai, simply couldn't make it to the filming of one of the episodes, but in fact, 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' is different to 'Help!'. It's not a ghost hunting show. Ian has a different mission and motive throughout, which will make this special of interest to a different audience, as well as fans of ghost hunting TV.

'The Yorkshire Exorcist' is a one-off, but I'd personally love to see more of Ian in this setting, however turning this format into a series could be challenging as all of the cases would be pretty similar and would all end with some kind of exorcism.

What sets 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' apart is its more human-centric approach. Instead of the same old spirit box sessions and questionable gadgets that we see time and time again in every ghost hunting show on television, 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' focuses on a human story.

This focus is what gives the show its unique appeal, even if it does slip in some practices that may leave the more skeptical viewer scratching their head. A prime example would be the use of Indian bells, which we are told "break down the energy flow" that the demon possessing Ian's victim is latching on to. It's a muddled concept with no scientific backing and comes across as a little jarring in the programme which elsewhere focuses on real personal experiences and fears that can't be disputed.
Jayne Harris, The Yorkshire Exorcist

More From 'Help! My House Is Haunted'

You can read more and the team's investigations on our 'Help! My House Is Haunted' hub, where you'll find detailed reviews of each episode, trivia quizzes and news on future episodes.

The special revolves around the case of Michelle, a 44-year-old woman residing in the Lancashire town of Skelmersdale. Michelle is convinced that something supernatural has attached itself to her, a belief she's held for a staggering 16 years. She describes feeling drained and anxious, plagued by frequent nightmares, and even finds herself mysteriously marked by three claw-like scratches on occasion. Adding a sinister tone, she's experienced blackouts and significant memory loss.

Michelle's husband Andy appears in the show to echo these concerns, stating heartbreakingly, "I just want her back." Feeling powerless, both believe Ian is their last hope, particularly after medical and psychological tests yield no explanations.

Ian arrives on the scene with his trademark hat and bag, and immediately it's clear than Michelle is uncomfortable with Ian being in her home. She can barely make eye contact with him, a common phenomenon believed to occur with spiritual attachments or possessions.

Ian begins to monitor Michelle's movements within her home via static cameras placed around the house. He then seeks the expertise of demonologist Ben Winfield. Ben thinks that Michelle might be being plagued by an elemental, a mythical entity in nature belonging to one of the four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire.

Ben fears that such an entity has latched on to Michelle and is feeding off of her energy. He warns that the attachment may be on the brink of escalating into a full-blown possession. Ian needs to act fast and is faced with a moral dilemma. Though an exorcism is usually the last resort, Ian senses that this may be the only option left on the table for Michelle.

As the episode nears its climax, we watch Ian prepare for the task of driving out the demon that's ensnared Michelle. He brings in Jayne Harris, his teammate from 'Help! My House Is Haunted,' to assist him in the ritual when we find out if Ian has acted in time and with the right course of action.

With a limited choice of spooky programming scheduled across the TV guide this Halloween, 'The Yorkshire Exorcist' is definitely one not to be missed. You can watch on the Really channel or stream on demand on Discovery+ from October 28.
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